The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has simultaneously released cash aid for indigent senior citizens under the Social Pension (SocPen) amid the ongoing programs being implemented due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Nabigyan na po natin ng ayuda ang 2,844,606 indigent senior citizens sa bansa na nagkakahalagang PHP8,533,818,000 (We have already distributed to 2,844,606 indigent senior citizens nationwide that is worth PHP8,533,818,000),” DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said on September 24, 2020.

Top photo: SOCIAL PENSION. An indigent senior citizen receives cash aid from the Social Pension (SocPen) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Bicol Region. The DSWD Central Office said it has provided cash aid to more than 2 million indigent senior citizens as of Thursday (Sept. 24, 2020). (Photo courtesy of DSWD Bicol)

The DSWD in Region 5 (Bicol) is presently rolling out financial assistance to qualified recipients under the Social Pension Program in Siruma, Camarines Sur.

A total of 1,606 indigent senior citizens in the municipality are expected to receive the cash aid wherein each beneficiary will get PHP3,000 equivalent to a six-month stipend.

In August, Rizal Representative Fidel Nograles backed Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez in his proposal to double the monthly pension of indigent senior citizens in the country.

The two advocates that the beneficiaries of SocPen shall receive PHP1,000 citing their need especially in this time pandemic.

Nograles announced he will be working with Rodriguez to amend the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 or Republic Act 9994.

“If granted, it is expected that the bigger allowance would be used by seniors to purchase their most pressing needs such as medication for whatever nagging illness that they may have contracted over the years,” Nograles said.

As presently indicated in RA 9994, the SocPen for Indigent Senior Citizens is an additional government assistance that aims to improve the condition of indigent senior citizens by augmenting their daily subsistence and medical needs.

It is distributed on a semestral basis at PHP3,000 per semester or PHP500 per month for six months.

The law specifies that seniors qualified to receive social pension are those who are frail, sickly, or with disability; without any pension from other government agencies; and without a permanent source of income or source of financial assistance/compensation to support their basic needs.

DSWD, on the other hand, assured the public that it will adhere to existing safety and health protocols in determining the best payout method to lessen the exposure of its beneficiaries and personnel to the coronavirus disease. (Christine Cudis, PNA)